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Cruzar la Cara de la Luna - 31 Days of Opera Awesomeness

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As a special addition to San Diego Opera's 2013 International Season, we present Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the first Mariachi Opera featuring renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. Celebrate the music, memories, color and high spirits of Mexico as the rich classical sounds of the traditional mariachi and brilliant soloists create a poignant and moving opera which will appeal to all audiences.
The Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

  Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán
The renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, known as the World’s Best Mariachi and heard on more than 800 recordings, take the stage for the first mariachi opera, a bi-lingual work following three generations of a single family, spanning countries, cultures and customs.  Performed to ecstatic reviews in Houston and Paris, this semi-staged production receives its West Coast premiere. “A multicultural winner”, “a stunning, emotional Mariachi opera”, “the bright Mariachi orchestration (violins, trumpets, harp and guitars) and e…

Aida - 31 Days of Opera Awesomeness

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Our season will end with the vivid, colorful and famous Aida by Giuseppe Verdi who celebrates his 200th Birthday in 2013.
The plot Aida tells the story of the tragic love triangle of Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter, who is competing for the love of the Egyptian general Radames with her own Ethiopian slave, Aida.
The production Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes’ vivid designer’s eye enhances Verdi’s vision of ancient Egypt in this stunning production. Acclaimed in London, San Francisco and Houston, the brilliant sets and costumes are seen in San Diego for the first time, creating a riot of color and pageantry.

 The triumphal march - Photo by Cory Weaver
The cast

Filled with great arias and choruses, including the famous Triumphal March, Aida demands extraordinary singers in every role.

Latonia Moore, Walter Fraccaro, Jill Grove and Mark S. Doss
Rising American star Latonia Moore conquered Covent Garden as Aida: “I can honestly say that I have not heard an Aida like her at Covent Garden…or, for th…

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness Murder in the Cathedral

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Ildebrando Pizzetti’s ‘Assassinio nella cattedrale’ is based on an actual historic event, the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket on December 29, 1170.

Thomas Becket Thomas Becket was born in London in 1118. His humble parents made sure he learned to read and sent him to Paris for his studies. After various jobs as a clerk and deacon, he became the young king’s Chancellor at the age of thirty-six, the second most powerful person in the country. The relationship between King Henry II and the twenty year older Thomas Becket at that time is documented as a strong friendship with both men enjoying splendor. This did however change in 1162 when Henry II made Becket the Archbishop of Canterbury. Feeling like he could not serve two masters, Thomas Becket resigned as Chancellor, choosing God over the king. Along with this switch came a grave change in lifestyle, Becket became a prime example of a disciplined and praying priest. Conflicts and many misunderstanding between king and archbishop foll…

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness - Murder in the Cathedral

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Conducted by La Scala’s Donato Renzetti, directed by Ian Campbell and starring Ferruccio Furlanetto as Becket, Ildebrando Pizzetti's Murder in the Cathedral has its West Coast Premiere in America, combining faith, passion, tragedy and hope.

The plot Archbishop Thomas Becket, brutally murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170 defending his church against the intrusions of King Henry II, became a Christian martyr and Saint at whose tomb Henry was forced to pay penance. Based on the T. S. Eliot play, the opera covers the last 27 days of Becket’s life as he struggles with politics, religion and temptation.

The production San Diego Opera's new production will be traditional. Here are two sketches of the scenery:


It is directed by San Diego Opera's very own Ian Campbell. The sets are designed by San Diego favorite Ralph Funicello.

 Ian Campbell and Ralph Funicello
Costumes are created by Bulgarian costume designer Denitsa Bliznakova who makes her San Diego Opera debut in …

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness - Samson and Delilah

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The Composer
Camille Saint-Saëns was born in Paris on October 9, 1835. A generally talented person, he started taking piano lessons aged two and wrote his first work at three. At twelve, he started studying organ and composition at the Paris Conservatory. Finally aged twenty, he had won the support of Berlioz, Liszt, Gounod, Rossini, and other notable figures. Other interests of him were geology, languages and astronomy as well as traveling which he did extensively in the last period of his life. During his life time he was celebrated in England and the United States as France’s greatest living composer leading to a triumphant concert tour in the U.S. in 1915. He died on December 16, 1921, in Algeria. An anomaly among French composers of the nineteenth century, he wrote in all genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, songs, sacred and secular choral music, solo piano, and chamber music. Mainly known for works such as The Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre or his Piano Concert

Samson and Delilah

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31 Days of Opera AwesomenessOur second opera of the season is Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah. The impressive production full of action, ballet dancing, drama and great singing returns to our stage on February 16, 2013.

The plot

The Bible’s Samson and Delilah tells the tragic story of the Hebrew Samson who is send by god to save Israel from the Phillistines. Physically strong, Samson cannot repel the advances of the seductive Delilah. Urged on by the High Priest of Dagon, she makes him reveal the source of his strength, his hair, which she cuts, rendering him powerless. Captured and blinded, Samson calls on God for forgiveness, destroying the temple and all within it, including the treacherous Delilah.

 Act One
The production

Camille Saint-Saëns’sSamson and Delilah return to our stage in a production described by the North County Times as “…one of the most memorable San Diego Opera productions of the past decade (with) stunning and gargantuan sets, vivid lighting, gorgeous costum…

Tenors of the 2013 Season

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Tenors are considered by many audience members as the 'glories' of opera. What they do seems beautiful, athletic, stunning and unreasonable, all at once. Well, we have some wonderful tenor roles this upcoming season: Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment, Samson in Samson and Delilah, and Radames in Aida. Tune in as Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach opens up the world of the operatic tenor in this week's installment.



Here is a little challenge

31 Days of Opera AwesomenessToday's 31 Days of Opera Awesomeness gives you this amazing Daughter of the Regiment jigsaw puzzle. Have fun!



The Daughter of the Regiment Jigsaw Puzzle

The Music from The Daughter of the Regiment

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31 Days of Opera Awesomeness The Daughter of the Regiment is a comic opera which is defined as a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature that usually ends well. Composed by Donizetti in 1840 for the Paris Opera Comique, it tells the story of the young orphan Marie who has been adopted by a regiment and later is found to be the Marquise’s niece. The libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean Francois Bayard gave Donizetti the chance to write military rhythms, pastoral chorals, majestic orchestra pieces, passionate arias and love duets. It is an opera that demands exceptional skills from the singers. The tenor aria "Ah me amis" for example requires the singer to sing nine high C's.

Listen to what Nicolas Reveles, our Geisel director of education, has to say about the orchestra, the duets and much more!


The orchestra in The Daughter of the Regiment
The choir in The Daughter of the Regiment
The soprano in The Daughter of the Regiment

The arias in The Dau…

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness

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Gaetano Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment 
The first opera of our upcoming season is the Donizetti’s comic opera The Daughter of the Regiment. Written by the Italian composer in Paris, it was first performed at the Paris Opéra-Comique in 1840 in french.

The Plot
The Daughter of the Regiment tells the story of the young orphan Marie who has been adopted by a regiment of the American army. Young and wild, a true army girl, she travels with the regiment and sees them all as her father. After meeting Tonio, a French peasant, they fall in love with each other. This leads Tonio to enlist in the regiment and everything seems perfect until Sgt. Sulpice meets the Marquise of Birkenfeld who turns out to be Marie’s aunt. Exhilarated about the finding of her long-lost niece, the Marquise decides to take Marie home to the family’s chateau. Comedy ensues as Marie attempts to adapt to her new life, as she discovers that the identity of the Marquise is not what she was led to believe.



Scenes fro…

The Mezzo-Sopranos of the 2013 Season

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There are two major mezzo-soprano roles in this upcoming opera season: Delilah in Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah and the Princess Amneris in Verdi's Aida. Both roles are major dramatic commitments for the mezzo that demand lyricism and declamatory singing. Let Nicolas Reveles, our Director of Education and Outreach, give you a quick review of these two roles!


10 Questions with Nadia Krasteva

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We here at Aria Serious (and San Diego Opera) are delighted to be welcoming Nadia Krasteva to our Company as Delilah in our second opera of the season, Samson and Delilah. Nadia took some time out of her busy schedule to answer the same 10 or so questions we always ask.

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you making your Company debut with us as Delilah. So our readers can learn a bit more about you, where you now and what are you currently singing?

Nadia Krasteva (NK): Now I am at home in Vienna for a short break. I’ve just come back from Dallas, where I made my Company debut in the opera house as Amneris in ”Aida”, definitely one of my favorite parts, which I have been really singing with a great pleasure.

SDO: Can you tell me a little about your Delilah?

NK: This will be my debut in the role, so I am so excited about working on it! In my imagination, Delilah is a beautiful young woman, which is selfish and thirsty for attention. S…

The Sopranos of the 2013 Season

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Starting today, a new series of podcasts about the various voice-types that you'll hear in the 2013 Season. Let's start with the sopranos; we have three stunning roles for soprano this season in Marie from The Daughter of the Regiment, the corifea or 'chorister' from Murder in the Cathedral and Aida in the Verdi opera of the same name. Let Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach, introduce you to the lovely music written for soprano by composers Donizetti, Pizzetti and Verdi in this exciting podcast!

What is Mariachi?

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As we look forward to the presentation of Cruzar la cara de la luna, the first mariachi opera, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at mariachi style and its history. This is an easy, brief introduction to the style that you may think you know (but probably really don't!) Watch and listen to Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach, as he unfolds the style and history of mariachi for you.

Hello, Old Friend. OperaTalk! Returns

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OperaTalk!, our fascinating look at the history, music and composer of our mainstage operas is back for the 2013 season. Up first, is a rousing look at Donizetti's comedy The Daughter of the Regiment. Enjoy! 

The Orchestra of the 2013 Season

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The orchestra is a major element in the presentation of an opera, and is foremost in the establishment of setting, time, emotion, psychological state...creating the 'sonic environment' for the telling of a powerful story. Watch and listen as Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera, shares some important orchestral moments from the upcoming 2013 Season!

The Chorus of the 2013 Season

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Every opera has a chorus. Well, not quite every opera: Cruzar la cara de la luna doesn't have an 'official' chorus, although the band (in this case the Mariachi Vargas) joins in enthusiastically with some of the singers in the opera! But Daughter of the Regiment, Murder in the Cathedral, Samson and Delilah and Aida definitely DO have choruses, and great ones at that! Join Dr. Nicolas Reveles as he shares some of that wonderful music with you!


The Duets of the 2013 Season

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Last week, Dr. Nic talked about arias in our 2013 season, so it seems a logical step for him to discuss duets this week. And there are some beautiful duets in the 2013 season. Don't believe us, take a listen for yourself. And enjoy!




Ten Questions with Ferruccio Furlanetto

Italian bass Ferruccio "Ace of Bass" Furlanetto is no stranger to San Diego Opera. He made his Company debut in 1985 as Oberto has sung often with the Company since then including  the title roles of Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, Don Quixote as well as King Philip in Don Carlo. In March, Ferruicco brings a new role to us, that of archbishop Thomas Becket in Ildebrando Pizzett's Murder in the Cathedral.

Ferruccio took a break between rounds at St. Andrews gold course over the weekend to answer "10 Questions with..."

Murder in the Cathedral opens March 30, 2013 for four performances.

Aria Serious (AS): First, welcome back to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you return to us to sing Beckett in Murder in the Cathedral. What have you been up to these past few seasons?


Ferruccio Furlanetto (FF): It is always a great joy for me to be back in San Diego in what I consider my American family.

In these few past seasons I kept basically doing my favorite roles in t…

Video Podcast - The Aria of the 2013 Season

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Our summer break is over, and Dr. Nic is back with his weekly podcast series Nicolas Reveles which will cover various elements of the operatic artform in order to help us get to know the 2013 International Season. We'll start with the aria, that one thing in opera that so many of us wait for, especially in operas that we know well. What about in operas that we don't quite know as well, like Murder in the Cathedral or Cruzar la cara de la luna? Tune in and find out!

Video Podcast, The Daughter of the Regiment

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In this week's podcast Dr. Nic looks at the first opera of our 2013 season, The Daughter of the Regiment by Donizetti. Donizetti was a formidable composer in his time and was the toast of Paris in 1840 when he had four operas running simultaneously at the city's largest theatres. Sounds a bit like Andrew Lloyd Webber, eh? Join Dr. Nic, Director of Education and Outreach, for an overview of this charming opera which logged 1,000 performances between its premiere and 1900 at the Opera Comique.

Video Podcast, Aida

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Dr. Nic returns in our video podcast series. This week, he takes a look at Verdi's grand opera Aida which is part of our 2013 season.

You can watch the podcast below. Enjoy!


An Introduction to Murder in the Cathedral

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Ildebrando Pizzetti is not a composer known to most U.S. operagoers, but his opera Murder in the Cathedral which premiered at La Scala in 1958, made quite a splash when it first appeared. Based on the historical assassination of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 and more specifically the T.S. Eliot verse-play about this event, the opera turned out to be a tour de force for bass, along the lines of Boris Godunov and King Philip. Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach, explores this unusual and exciting entry in our 2013 season.


An Introduction to The Daughter of the Regiment

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One of the most delightful comedies to come out of the bel canto period, Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment charms us at every turn. It was one of a number of operas the composer had in production during the 1840 Paris opera season, a feat about which Berlioz declared: “One speaks no more of the operatic stages of Paris: one must speak of the operatic stages of Donizetti!” Join Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera for a brief discussion of this wonderful opera.


2013 Season Podcast

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A journey through our just announced 2013 season in this video podcast by our very own Dr. Nic Reveles.


THE BARBER OF SEVILLE OperaSpotlight

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A behind-the-scenes look at our current production. Enjoy!

The Barber of Seville by Eric Shanower

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Artist Eric Shanower continues his tradition of live sketching our operas with incredible results and last night's The Barber of Seville rehearsals was no exception.

It's a busy time for Eric so we're incredibly grateful that he took time out of his schedule to join us.

Eric has just released Treasury Edition size version of The Forgotten Forest of Oz and he's getting ready to appear at the Winkie Con in Pacific Grove, California, in July, the longest running Oz convention in the world.

So without further ado, The Barber of Seville by Eric Shanower.